One of my first published articles, "Six Reasons Why You Should Wake Up at 6 a.m.," had many people motivated and inspired. Yet, they still had a difficult time waking up that early.
The hardest part of becoming an early riser is creating the routine, or as the book The Power of Habit calls it, a "Habit Loop." By creating a cue to remind yourself you are beginning a new routine that will eventually lead to reward, you yourself can become the early bird and reap the many benefits.
So the question then becomes how to establish those cues. Over the past two years, I have struggled through creating the routine of waking up at before 6 a.m. Here are six cues that aided me in becoming the one that gets the worm.
1. Make your alarm clock your gym song.
We listen to different music based on our current mood or activity. When people read or study, they tend to gravitate to classical music, or maybe you feel like relaxing and listen to some reggae or meditation music.
The question is, why do we choose the music we do when we go on a run or workout? It's because it pumps us up and gets us motivated to do that extra rep or lap.
So why not apply the same mentality to waking up? Most of us need some morning motivation, so why not use our favorite workout song to get the blood flowing. In my experience, I have the same mental triggers with my workout song as I do with my alarm.
It may not be the most pleasant way to rise and shine, but it's enough to get you out bed.
2. Keep your phone away from snoozing. (You snooze, you lose.)
If you're waking up to a standard alarm sound, which can be very annoying, chances are you've at least considered joining the snooze team, which many of us, myself included, have been members of.
A great tactic I've used to avoid this temptation is keeping your phone or alarm out of arms reach! By doing this you're forcing yourself to get up in order to stop your annoying alarm from ringing. We all know getting out of bed is the hardest step!
3. Have a glass of water in arms reach.
Preparing for the next day by having a glass of water ready for you in the morning can make all the difference. After six to eight hours with no water intake, it jump-starts the system and gets it ready to perform.
4. Minute to win it?
So you've gotten this far, gotten out of bed, had your glass of water, and now it's time to get just a little bit of blood pumping. Preparing yourself for your day by having just 60 seconds of activity each morning will make you more productive right off the bat.
5. Get the most exciting or important things done first.
I'd say this is the most effective cue for me in the sense that I'm not tricking my mind to wake up but rather doing what I care about most.
Before I go to sleep, I always think about what I would love to do first, and what I care about getting done most, during the following day. It varies from day to day, but overall it sets the bar high for what needs to get done right off the bat.
For example, working out in the morning is what gets my day going, so I go to sleep in my workout clothes and already have my gym bag packed. That way, when I wake up I'm ready to go, and there's no second-guessing when it comes to hitting the snooze.
6. Eat breakfast.
Sometimes the most daunting part of the morning is all the planning that needs to happen to get yourself out the door on time. By planning that first meal ahead, whether it's your favorite cereal or pancakes with batter you make the night before, you take one decision off the table and give yourself another great incentive to wake up. You also make sure you have the fuel to keep yourself going for the rest of the day.
Creating a routine is always a challenge, but your new routine of getting up before 6 a.m. will create more opportunities for productivity and enjoyment! Get down to business and be the early bird you know you can be!